"Shit! Rowan! Rowan it's me!" Jason shielded his face from the onslaught. "Rowan! It's me, Jason!" Rowan was past being able to hear him. Jason groped about blindly and managed to catch one of Rowan's fists in his hand, the other one he caught on the bridge on his nose and it made his eyes water. Hell could this girl fight! He spun her round and pushed the arm he had hold of, up her back and still she kicked and struggled and Jason felt, and heard, Rowan's teeth snapping together savagely. "Rowan no." Jason said as gently as he could over Rowan's roars. "Listen. Listen Rowan. Listen to me. It's Jason. It's OK Rowan, I won't hurt you. Can you hear me?" Rowan stopped struggling due to sheer exhaustion. "It's OK, calm down. Are you hurt?" Rowan shook her head and felt like she was losing her mind. Jason let go of her and she just stood there. He retrieved the torch and steered her back to the cell. "OK so why you beat me up?" Jason tried a different approach and it worked. Rowan snapped out of her shock induced trance.
"Why were you loitering about out there?" She bellowed. "You ... weirdo! Why the shit were you creeping about behind me? You big horse's arse!"
"Why were you creeping about out there to begin with?" Jason said defensively. "OK, I'm sorry! I realised you'd gone. What else do you think I'd do? just sit here thinking you'd gone to stretch your legs? You daft tart! I got halfway up the corridor before it dawned on my rather dimwitted senses that you may have needed a toilet, or at least a private space for it. Yes? So I tried to come back and you jumped me! You bloody nutter!"
"Well of course I did! You were lurking about!" Rowan argued.
"And I just explained why." Jason rubbed his swelling temple where the flashlight had almost knocked him out. "This isn't really a time for modesty, Rowan. If you need a riddle you'll have to tell me you're going. OK? I know, that's gross but we can't wander off from each other."
"Jason I heard a noise." Rowan nodded. "That's why I went out there to see what it was."
"Old building like this is full of noises, Rowan. Maybe it was just that." Jason said and Rowan nodded. That was actually very possible. Rowan's strained nerves simply hadn't allowed for rational possibilities. "Where the hell did you learn to fight?" Jason sat down on the bench next to Rowan again, leaving the flashlight on.
"Same place as you, probably." Rowan smiled. "I was brought up round here but I lived in the grotty bit. Redpit."
"Really?" Jason said in surprise. "You're right, it is grotty. I live on Clay street so it's quite posh I suppose. My family live in Brightwell. So how did a rough lot from Redpit end up as a TV executive?"
"A lot of hard work and good breaks." Rowan nodded. "I've had incredibly good luck as far as my career goes. It seems like I've always been in the right place at the right time. I suppose this is payback for relying on luck, eh?" She smiled. "So what do you do? Apart from get arrested?"
"I'm an electrician, believe it or not. I was hoping the boss would hold my job open until after my trial. If I ever get to the bloody trial, that is." Jason sighed. "There can't be many toerags around who actually want to go to Court eh?"
"Well you told me you weren't a toerag." Rowan shrugged. "You don't seem like a toerag either."
"I'm not. Well not really. I did clobber that bloke, I've never denied it. I'd clobber him again too if I had to. He's still limping about like a war casualty six months later. Bloody loser. Anyone can limp eh?" Jason sighed again. "He needed his leg screwed and plated." Rowan flinched at the brutality. "Sorry. I'm not trying to shock you or put the wind up you. I'm not a bad bloke, I swear."
"So what did he do to get your attention in that way?" Rowan asked. "It's fine if you'd rather not tell me."
"No, I want to tell you. I want to tell everyone. That's why I want to go to court. He mugged my mother for the five quid she had in her purse. She's sixty seven. He left her behind a row of bins and it was six hours before the police found her. It left her blind in one eye and with no movement in her left leg due to a bad hip fracture that won't heal, not at her age. She's in a wheelchair now. She's also terrified to leave the house or to be by herself. My sister had to move back home with her. I didn't even plan on going after him." Jason laughed sadly. "It never even entered my head but I suppose it's a bit much to expect them to believe that. I was far too busy panicking about my mother and moving my sister in with her to bother about that little shit. I presumed he'd been lifted anyway. One evening the old girl started screaming like crazy down the phone and I could hear my sister in the background trying to calm her down. The scum actually had a job cleaning bloody windows! Poor old sod's sitting watching Coronation Street and his ugly mug appears at her window a month after he's beat her senseless! He made a run for it when she saw him but unluckily for him he came haring round the corner the same time as I did. And the rest, as they say, is history." Jason shrugged. "They can make of that what they like. I did beat him up and I do know it's illegal to beat people up. I'm not saying it was right and I'm certainly not going to bullshit round it. It wouldn't do any good anyway. My mother's still disabled and half blind."
"That's horrible!" Rowan said in shock. "Your poor mum! She must have been absolutely terrified, apart from in pain. I'm no judge and I'm no shrink but that happening to your mum would put the mildest temper to the test."
"And mine's not mild in the slightest." Jason reminded her. "I have a very good solicitor and he's been with me right from the start so he knows everything. I really do hope I don't get jailed for it but if I do, it's not for the want of people trying for me."
"I think you're handling it all very sensibly. It's that sort of outlook that gets respected, in my opinion. You aren't sitting here yelling and raving about how you did nothing wrong because he asked for it. You aren't even outraged at the possibility of a jail sentence. You trust the legal system that much?" Rowan asked.
"No but I have no choice." Jason shrugged. "As long as I get banged up at F1 and not here!" Rowan laughed quietly. "Ah we'll get out soon Rowan. There's a shit load of people who are bound to know we're missing by now. Two coppers missing too remember? The police will be all over the place."
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